Mr. Peter Hayden - Interview
Usually, my preferred color schemes include only black, white and occasionally some grey or silver tones. But seasons changing and with them nature's colors is a beautiful sight to behold, as is watching the colorful soundscapes unfold in front of your inner eye when listening to certain bands. An event that brings both autumn colors and vibrant musical universes together is Blowup Vol. 3 festival at Korjaamo during October 13-14. One of the bands evoking a kaleidoscope of colors and stellar constellations during that weekend is PH aka Mr. Peter Hayden. To shorten the waiting time to the festival, I had a chat with the band's bass player about music and stars.
The Metal Phenomenon: Could you tell us a bit about the band’s history and development?
Lauri Kivelä: We have been around for at least fifteen years now, and yes, there has been some development and progress. We have turned from a four piece to a six piece and back to a five piece, and the instrumentation has gone through some changes too. We have released four full-length albums since 2010, latest being 'Eternal Hayden'. We have toured Europe few times during the years and I guess the visit to Roskilde Festival this year is worth a mention for a band this size. All in all, we have done stuff and been to places, always staying true to our hearts.
TMP: You released a new album this March, the first release in 3 years. How do you see ‘Eternal Hayden’ in comparison to your other releases?
LK: It’s the first one after the trilogy released between 2010 and 2014, and therefore I view it as a part of something new. I hear it as summary of our sound on the earlier ones and a promise of something new to come. The album really has much familiar sound to it, also the vocals which we have used last time some ten years ago. This one may also be a bit easier to get a hold of due to it’s length, but I hope people won’t let themselves be fooled by that, or the fact that album has been divided into so many tracks, it is still a whole as the earlier ones.
TMP: How does the process of creation of new music work for you in general?
TMP: Where do you draw inspiration from?
LK: From everywhere, everywhere in the universes. The thing we do is some sort of channeling and I am not sure if we are the ones drawing anything, but the antennas receiving something pushed to us.
TMP: How have the reactions to the album been?
LK: I am not sure, we have been rather busy playing fresh stuff and getting ready to start working on a new album.
TMP: Mr PH do not actually even use the band name but just the symbol, and the band’s whole appearance is cryptic, full of mystery and celestial allure. How did this come about?
LK: Guidance. Things happen and they do it for a reason, or various reasons. The name fades away and lets one focus on the music instead, or the opposite, I am not sure.
TMP: Mr PH often references stellar constellations – do you believe that aspects such as in which moon a planet currently is in when you play influences your performance? Or do you actually plan your performance in the spirit of specific constellations on that day?
LK: Plans are rarely made, we put our trust in the guidance instead. And what comes to the things happening in the skies, well, they have their effect in many things, and it is not a question of belief but trust.
TMP: On your website you write “Since the dawn of this century with vision bright as one thousand suns. Towards the inevitable as is written in the stars.” Do you feel as if all music you create is inevitable, just a manifestation of what is written in the stars for you, the band only functioning as a human vessel?
LK: Everything is inevitable and yes, we are merely an antenna channeling all this.
Mr. Peter Hayden (Photo by Maija Lahtinen)
TMP: Do you plan your performances (apart from the set list) at all or is it just a flow?
LK: Apart from the set list, no. There are no plans, just us opening our collective self and going where the performance takes us. And it is not just for us, when we are playing live the audience is always welcome to join the voyage. On, in, out… you know.
TMP: I saw Mr PH at Tallinn Music Week and you destroyed your bass at the end. Why?
LK: The good old bird was getting bit old and it already had some severe cracks in his body from past battles. I needed to get myself a new, improved one for the years to come and I wanted old friend to have a proper finale. I did it purely out of respect, he went down in style instead of being just layed in a case and forgotten. Now he is glued back together and enjoying his retirement, remembered and respected, now and then showing some old tricks to his successor.
TMP: When you play several gigs in a short time, how do you get into the zone every time? With bands like Mr PH it seems so much more of an intense involvement of the band in the playing compared to other bands where you can see they are enjoying the show but they are just playing instead of being completely absorbed.
LK: We get there very well. On a tour ‘the zone’ becomes more familiar, easier to reach and so the dive can be deeper each time. Our performance is all about letting go and surrendering to something bigger, going on a journey, experiencing. Therefore I find it really hard to imagine just playing a gig, there is nothing to it, nothing.
TMP: It seems that in the past years Finland has seen more bands like Mr PH that where there is a intense, psychedelic, organic flow in the music and the live shows emerge than elsewhere – why do you think that is? Do people in Finland need to escape to the stars or into the depths more than elsewhere?
LK: We have been doing this many years, so has Oranssi Pazuzu and Dark Buddha Rising. I like to think that the music has been here all the time, and now the audiences have felt the need and found it. Like a tool that has been around all the time, but the need for it has emerged just recently. I am also sure that the audience for this is not limited to Finland and the reason all these bands are coming from here might be just a coincident… or that thing they say about the light coming from the north.
Mr. Peter Hayden (Photo by Elias Jokiranta )
TMP: What can we expect from your show at Blowup Vol. 3?
LK: An intense psychophysical journey, as always. Mainly consisting of material becoming our next album with some selections from Eternal Hayden.
TMP: What do you look forward to at the festival yourself?
LK: Intense last gig of this year and phase. Good travels, hanging out with my brothers and meeting Tero Toivonen and Jukka Hätinen.
TMP: How does the experience differ between shows at big events like Roskilde where you played this year and smaller shows/festivals? Or does it?
LK: The experience itself does not differ much and the little it does is because of the audience not the size of venue. It really makes no big difference to the quality of the show or the depth of the trip were there eight or 800 people traveling with us.
TMP: How was it to play such a legendary festival as Roskilde?
LK: It was nice, very nice. That festival is big, in every possible way and still everything works like a charm. We were really glad to be a part of the experience.
TMP: What does Mr Peter Hayden’s future hold?
LK: We have just begun work on our fifth album and while working on that we might play some international shows. That is most I know about next year, but as always, what happens has to happen, so I stay ready and eager to learn what the future holds and where the guidance takes us.